Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bali - June 16-19 2015

Time for another break from the heat and humidity in Singapore - so we're off to Bali and Lombok, where it is still hot and humid (but maybe just a little less so).

Pat's son, John and his wife Nicki from Florida, came to visit us. We decided a few days in Singapore was enough and wanted John and Nicki to see more of SE Asia so we planned a trip south of the equator. Pat's daughter took charge of the planning and did a wonderful job, as you'll see in the following post.

Tuesday, June 16th

Up very early to get to Changi International Airport for our 7:50 AM flight. Had to go in 2 cabs since there were 8 of us. We're all on the early Garuda Indonesian flight to Bali.

Once in Bali we took cabs to our villa at Desamuda Village in Seminyak, Bali. What a beautiful place. We had 3 bedroom suites, a kitchen/dining area and a lounge overlooking our private swimming pool.

Entrance to our villa

Pool and lounge area

Our bed with mosquito net

Open-air shower and bath tub

We lunched a short way down the street at Fat Gajah (a restaurant recommended in TripAdvisor). We were not disappointed. Many at our table shared a pitcher of Mojitos, while I had Bintang beer. In addition, there was a ginger ale, a Sprite, a Cucumber Cooler, Virgin Mojito and several bottles of water. The food consisted of lots of different things for all to share: Rendang Dumplings, Duck Parcel (2), Fat Gajah Platter (2), Beef Tender Noodles, Crab Salad, Asian Green Noodles and Mixed Field Greens. What a feast! The entire bill was just over 2 million Rupiah (US$ 150).

Cucumber Cooler

Later in the afternoon, we all walked to the beach (a walk that seemed longer than it was because the rough and tumble sidewalks, when they existed, and that were often blocked by motorcycles or cars). As you can see in the pictures, the beach was huge and not as crowded as I expected. Everyone enjoyed the surf and sand.

We asked the hotel staff where some good restaurants were and found out there were many a short distance away, so we started walking. It was further than we were led to believe, but once we found the area, there were lots of restaurants and bars. We finally settled on Chandi, serving Pan Asian Cusine. We settled on two 2-person appetizers, one with mixed sate.

The first appetizer had the following: Mini Beef Rendang Envelopes, Spicy Tenderloin Lettuce Cup, Black Pepper Crab Dumplings, Salt & Green Pepper Squid, Seared Scallops in Tamarind Peanut Dressing, Crunchy Tofu Squares in Pecel Peanut Sauce, Crisp Tempe Manis and Chilled Spiced Watermelon Soup. 

The Hot Lava Stone Sate Platter included: 7 Large Marinated-Grilled Skewers (Harvey Tenderloin, Black Angus Rib Eye, Wagyu Short Ribs, Duck Lilit on Sugar Cane Beetroot & Asparagus) with Watercress & Sprout Salad, Lemongrass Steamed Organic White Rice and 4 Sambals (Roasted Peanut Sambal, Sambal Kemangi, Sambal Matah, Sweet Soy Chili Reduction).  What a meal.

First Chandi appetizer

Chilled Spiced Watermelon Soup

Hot Lava Stone Sate Platter

Wenesday, June 17th

After breakfast at the Village, our son-in-law arranged for an SUV to take us to Ubud and other places for the day.

An hour and a half later, we arrived at the Mandala Suci Wenara Wana (Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary) in Ubud. In a beautiful forested area with lots of temple buildings and the monkeys roam free. At one area for a few dollars, you can feed the monkeys as they sit on your shoulder (or head). Nicki was the brave one to start the feeding; I followed. An interesting feeling.

Nicki has a new hat

My new hairpiece

Nicki and me

Monkey statue

Mom and baby

A temple in the Monkey Sanctuary

Another temple view

We wandered through Ubud, including a market area where I was able to find a Bintang Beer tee-shirt (starting a collection of beer tee-shirts). Pat found several light-weight dresses and bargained down the prices, not realizing how little she paid for them. Felt a bit sad about that. Money conversion is such a pain when there are so many unused zeros on the bills.

A street in Ubud

Women working in Ubud

Hauling the dirt away

After the market, it was time to eat, so we went to the Cafe Lotus. Once again we had a really good meal in a beautiful setting.

View from our table at Cafe Lotus

The pond and stage outside Cafe Lotus

 The stage outside Cafe Lotus

After lunch, we met our driver and told him where we want to go next. He had changed his mind and decided to head back to Seminyak, rather than continue with us. Tom found us another driver that would continue our journey and then take us back to our hotel.

Our first stop, after lunch, was Ulun Danu Beratan a lakeside temple. It was hard not to take a great photo at this place. Every angle was a bit better than the last.


Ulun Danu Beratan Grounds

Closest islands to the shore at the temple

One of the islands at the temple

Another view of one of the islands

A gate at Ulun Danu Beratan

Lonely boat

A rare photo of Pat and Ray

After the temple, we loaded back in the SUV and headed to GitGit Twin Waterfalls, another hour away. Following the trail, we all made it to the waterfall you see below. Most of us returned to the parking lot, while Pat's daughter, a grandson and John and Nicki went up another path we had passed earlier. They got to see the better of the waterfalls and a bit of a swim. So much for well-marked trails.

One of the twin waterfalls at GitGit

Wild Poinsettias at GitGit

Wild Poinsettia

Then a long drive back to Desamuda Village, arriving about 10 PM.

Thursday, June 18th

Because this was a day when John and Nicki took a ferry to Lombok so they could do some scuba diving, and the rest of the family were flying over to Lombok later on in the evening. Ray and I were moved to new room at Desamuda Village. It was as nice as the villa for the previous 2 days but with 1 less bedroom.

Pool at 2nd villa

Dinning at 2nd villa

Living area at 2nd villa

Living area from the steps at the 2nd villa

Bed and backpack in 2nd villa

Shower at 2nd villa

The day was spent swimming, reading and relaxing.

Six of us had lunch at another TripAdvisor-recommended Kendi Kuning Restaurant. Another good choice with really good food.

Kendi Kuning Sign

Watching my Mahi Mahi being grilled

My Sweet Chili Mahi Mahi

Kendi Kuning's outside kitchen
After everyone went to Lombok, leaving Pat and me on our own, we decided to head out to find a geocache, our first on Bali. We also had a restaurant in mind that Pat's daughter told us about. Since it didn't look to far away and we felt good, we decided to walk. With the twisty streets, it was a little too far, but we made it to Bambu, the restaurant we were looking for. We were lucky to get seated without a reservation, as this is a very popular and beautiful place.

View from our upper deck table

Another view from our table

We split this soft-shelled crab appetizer

The entry as we were leaving

Friday, June 19th

This is Pat and my last day in Bali before we join the rest of the family in Lombok. After breakfast, we packed our bags and decided to get the geocache we missed yesterday. Since the cache seemed to be only 1 mile past where we had dinner last night, we decided to walk - again. Since it was early morning we thought the heat would not be as bad as later in the day. It was okay the first part, but soon got hot. [Note from Pat on Bali temperature. It's nothing like Singapore. Much more bearable.]

Walking along the street we ran across one of the interesting things we have seen in another part of Indonesia and also in Cambodia - vendors selling petrol in glass bottles along the street. The biggest difference in Bali was that the bottles were almost always Absolut bottles.

Petro/Gasoline for sale along the street

Notice the Absolut bottles

The geocache we were looking for was a mere 1 mile from the Banbu restaurant we ate at last night. Unfortunately there was no direct route that was anywhere close to that length. I believe we had to walk at least 3 miles to cover the one mile distance "the crow flies". However, as we started to get a little depressed that it was taking so long to get there, we happened upon two different areas with "urban" rice paddies. We might never have seen these beautiful sights if we had grabbed a taxi.

The first "urban" rice fields we came across

A colorful hammock store

Don't know if this is part of a temple

Detail from the above photo

Second set of rice paddies
Farmer preparing his paddy

Walking the "road" through the paddies (there were motorcycles going both ways)

Flooded fields

More flooded fields

Nicely maturing rice

Husband and wife planting rice

A back-breaking job

More workers planting rice

Soon after passing these fields, we came to the site of the geocache we came for - the Pura Gate Cash (GCB3BE). A Pura is a Balinese Hindu temple and the place of worship for the adherents of Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia. There was no temple here, but there may have been one in the past. Only the gate and some walls are still standing. The cache was through the gate and hidden at the base of a tree,

The Pura Gate

Looking through the Pura Gate

One of the side entrances

This god is a scribe who noted what you have done in life

Once we got the cache, we found a taxi and went back to the villa. Then, for a late lunch, we walked a few meters down the street from the hotel to Bo & Bun, Asian Eatery. Pat had a Bun Bao Xao Vietnamese Salad and I had something called the 18-Hour Vietnamese Salad. Both were very good.

The rest of the afternoon, we read and relaxed and an hour before heading to the airport, went out for coffee and a sweet at Kopi Bali House. The coffee and deserts were good - the plate were decorated with chocolate powder.

Guess who

That evening we flew to Lombok to be with the rest of the family.

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